"X Factor" group Fifth Harmony attempts to make a name for itself
Less than two years ago, girl group Fifth Harmony – comprised of Ally Brooke Hernandez, Dinah Jane Hansen, Camila Cabello, Normani Hamilton and Lauren Jauregui – was being judged by Top 40 pop star Demi Lovato on the now-defunct Fox singing competition "The X Factor." Now, they're touring the nation alongside the former Disney star.
It's been a long, odd road to get to this point for the five ladies, who were smashed together into a girl group suddenly live on TV and eventually finished in third place on the show. Now, that road leads them to a solo show at The Pabst Theater tonight at 7 p.m. Before the show, however, OnMilwaukee got a chance to talk to Hernandez about the band's unusual origins, its upcoming debut album and finding an actual name for the group.
OnMilwaukee.com: Is it odd performing alongside someone like Demi, who was judging you on the show in the beginning?
Ally Brooke Hernandez: Yeah! Oh my gosh, I was just talking about this the other day. It's crazy how things have come full circle because, less than two years ago, there she was on "The X Factor," critiquing us and judging us and everything. And now we're on the tour with her. We've had the best time ever, and she's been super supportive to us to this day.
OMC: What was the experience like being on "The X Factor"?
ABH: It really prepared us for the real world of music and art, like last minute changes and a hectic schedule and learning to deal with things at the very last second. But it was really good because it prepared us for now and for today.
OMC: Now, the beginning of Fifth Harmony was … unconventional, considering the five of you all got pushed together into this one group. What was it like in those first couple of practices trying to become a band and (excuse this terrible pun) create harmony?
ABH: I remember the first time we were on that stage. We didn't know what was going to happen. So when the judges finally told us we're a group and that we were going to have another chance. I remember I was so excited that I had another chance at my dream, and even though it was with a group and everything, it was still another chance. I was so excited; I was like, "Yes, I'm not going home!"
The other side of that was all of us were shocked. We're all like, "Oh wow … we're in a girl group. This is kind of crazy and not what we expected at all." But we all kind of talked to each other, and immediately we had a friendship and we clicked. We knew each other before throughout boot camp, so it actually worked really well. We all just decided, like, "Hey. We're in this. We have this opportunity. Let's go with it and do our best."
OMC: Was there anything in particular you bonded over to come together as a group?
ABH: The very first night we got together, we were still like all emotional and what's going on and everything. I remember we were talking about our name and trying to come up with a name for ourselves. I was just joking and breaking the ice, and I said, "We could call ourselves the Tree Growers!" And everyone started laughing. After that, we were coming up with even worse names then that.
We definitely bonded over the name. I'll never forget that; we stayed up until I don't even know how long talking about that, and that kind of led into talking about our lives and our backgrounds.
OMC: The band through so many name changes early on. Not that a name is a completely massive part of a band, but what was it like shuffling through band names and finally having to go to the fans for it?
ABH: I remember it was so stressful for us because we had so much pressure to come up with a name. First, we were just called Girl Group on the set because we didn't even have a name yet. Then it became LYLAS, but that was actually taken by Bruno Mars' sisters, so we had to come up with another name. The next one was 1432, which means "I love you" in texting talk, and we were like, "What in the world is this name? No, we don't like it."
So Simon eventually came up to us, and he was like, "Hey, we talked, and we think you need a name change." And we were like "Yes! Thank god. We do NOT like 1432." So America ended up naming us, and they gave us Fifth Harmony, and we really liked it.
OMC: Were you nervous having America name your band? A public vote like that could go wrong very easily …
ABH: Honestly, I don't think we were too nervous or anything because really, anything at that point would've been so better than 1432. At that point, we were just like, "Just give us a new name; we don't care what it is!" We trust America too. We figured they would give us a good name, and thank god, they actually did.
OMC: The five of you all went into the contest wanting to be solo artists originally. Was it hard to get past the inherent ego of wanting to be a solo star and get into the band concept?
ABH: Honestly no, not at all. For us at that point, it was another chance. Yeah, it was a little different than what we had originally planned for us, but we all came together.
OMC: You guys are currently in the middle of recording your first full-length album. How much more recording is left to go on it?
ABH: Well, we barely started right before the tour, so we'd only done a few songs. But after this tour, we're going to go back to L.A. and have a whole month of just spending time in the studio, really honing in on our songs and our sound.
OMC: In some recent quotes, you said that you're moving away from pop on this record. How so?
ABH: It's still a little pop, but it's definitely more R&B. And the content and the whole sound in general is more mature. We're growing up, and our sound is growing up, too.
Hey Matt, just curious...do you know if they sing "live" or do they lip sync?
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